"Please insert game disc"

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Doctrine DACUS
Posts: 1

"Please insert game disc"

Post#1 » Sat Mar 10, 2018 6:44 pm

Hello, I recently acquired a Dreamcast and am having this error whenever I attempt to play a game. It is not the common "malfunctioning closing lid" error, as I get this error even while holding the closed lid indicator latch down manually after having taken the chassis off my Dreamcast. What happens is that after powering the console on and holding down the latch, the laser will move into place and the disc will start spinning, but it will only spin for approximately 3 seconds before I get the error.

I am assuming that this is also not the common "uncalibrated laser / potentiometer" issue that involves tightening the small screw on the laser, as based on my research, I believe that if I had this issue, the games would not be spinning up at all (while in my case, they are). Can someone verify this for me?

After spending some time looking through the archives of this and other forums, the only case I've found of someone suffering from an issue quite like mine is this thread where the OP's problem turned out to be a broken ribbon wire connecting the laser to the console. He was able to diagnose the issue from the fact that when powering on without a disc, he could see no red laser shining to read a disc. Indeed, when I power my DC on without a disc (and hold the latch so the motor spins), I don't see a red laser either.

Because my ribbon seems to be in fine shape, I am assuming I simply have a burnt out laser that needs to be replaced. Is this a common issue, and does it sound like the source of my problem to you experts here? Should I attempt to clean my laser with alcohol, or disconnect / reconnect the ribbon before I run out and replace the laser? Could my issue not actually be a defective laser, but possibly the potentiometer adjustment issue that I wrote off so quickly?

Thanks for reading and for the help...

Posts: 19

Re: "Please insert game disc"

Post#2 » Mon Mar 19, 2018 5:26 pm

I like repairing Dreamcast's.
One of my favourite hobbies. :mrgreen:

What I like to do is take the top part off the Dreamcast off. Power on the Dreamcast and let it load to the system Menu. Put a game disk on the disk drive. Then press the lid switch very slowly down so the disk will start spinning. Keep doing this and you want it to spin up but read the disk. You want it to get it so you can hear that loading beep sound. It may take sometime. But keep doing it. You can do this with the case top on too. Just push the lid down very slowly to spin up and to try and get that loading beep sound. It will spin and may stop. Just do it nice and slowly until it starts spinning up properly.

After you have done this and got it loading disks. It's fixed ;)
Every time you play a game. The disk will load fine.

This may sound weird but this works for me all the time.
When I get a Dreamcast that as a problem on loading disks. It's down to relining the laser. The gear that drives the laser back and forward is out a little bit and makes it hard for the laser to read disks. So forcing it relines it. :)

Messing about with the laser diode is probely the last option.
It is true about the ribbon cable that may be the problem.
I had to replace one on a Dreamcast I was fixing and that did fix the problem.

Using isopropyl alcohol on a ear cleaning bud helps a lot on cleaning the laser.

I hope this helps.

Posts: 19

Re: "Please insert game disc"

Post#3 » Mon Mar 19, 2018 5:50 pm

Sorry to be a pain I just missed the part where you have put not seeing the red laser when pressing the switch.

So when you push the switch down the laser is not showing at all but the drive is spinning up?

I had this problem be for.
It did turn out to the the ribbon cable.

What I would recommend is buying a broken Dreamcast off eBay or some used part site. And take that disk drive out and put it into your Dreamcast. Make sure the Model is the same. Under your Dreamcast you will see a label like this [1] Pal for version one. Why I'm telling you this. Japan model Dreamcast's have got a different disk drive lay out on the Metal caddy. The screws don't line up on a VA0 motherboard and VA1. The problem you may be having is a dead laser or the disk drive motherboard is faulty.

All the best


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